East Java, Gunung Butak

Written by on July 16, 2012 in Java Mountains with 0 Comments

East Java, Gunung Butak



The main starting point for this Ribu is easily reached from the popular mountain resort of Batu, near the city of Malang. Although Butak is not one of the highest peaks in the region, it is unusually free of litter, is a spectacular viewpoint, and has a great natural campsite in a grassy meadow just below the summit. Gunung Kawi is the name of a lower subsidiary top and more locals know of Gunung Kawi than Gunung Butak.

From Batu, take an ojek to kampung Tuyomerto, which takes about 15 minutes. At the top of the road in Tuyomerto you will find the ‘base camp’ hut (1,300 m). Guides and porters are available in the village, but you will need some Bahasa Indonesia ability – ask for pak Budi who seems to be the best guide and can organise other villagers as porters. A guide will take you up and down in one long day (start early!) or a guide and porters will take you one-way and carry your gear to the camping area – you then carry your own gear down. Despite the GPS tracks available, you will probably need a guide as there are several places where you could take a wrong turn. It takes approximately 5 to 7 hours to reach the large grassy camping area known as the alun-alun (2,460 m) and the hike is almost 10 km following a fairly modest gradient. It takes about 3 to 5 hours to come down the same way.

From the base camp, the climb through the cabbage fields and other agriculture to Pos 2 (1,575 m) takes about 45 minutes. From Pos 2 you continue up a valley in degraded/secondary forest before the steepest section of the hike up to Pos 4 (1,980 m), which takes about 1 hour. After this climb, the trail has a very nice gentle gradient, which mean you can hike at a good speed – however, since Butak sees very few hikers the trail can be quite overgrown early in the year and progress can much slower with machetes required to clear the fast growing shrubs. After another 3 hours you should reach Pos 6 (2,460 m), faster if the trail is clear. The route to the alun-alun and camping area is much clearer from here, and should take no more than 2 hours. In the camping area, the grass is very clumpy and there are not as many camping sites as it might first appear. There is an excellent source of drinking water from a spring with pipe, a musholla (praying area), and a view to the summit of Java’s highest peak Semeru.

The highest point is a short climb up to the top of the ridge that surrounds the alun-alun and in good conditions you can see Arjuna, Semeru, Liman and Lawu in the far distance. As noted in the trip reports, the route up to the summit can also be overgrown and in poor weather can be hard to find. The hillside here is scattered with interesting ancient grave sites and some small caves.

It takes about three and a half hours to descend to Tuyomerto.

The mountain can also be climbed from the west. The other trail starts at the village of Sirah Kencong.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn and Andy Dean.


Getting there

There are regular flights and train services from Jakarta to Malang. Batu is also around 4-5 drive from Surabaya, which has more frequent flights. There are lots of angkots to Batu from Malang – though you may need to change vehicle a couple of times. Taxis from Malang to/from Batu are also available and it costs around 100k Rupiah from Batu to Malang Airport, a journey that takes 1 hour.


There is a good range of places to stay in Batu.


None required but take a photocopy of your passport photo page just in case.

Water sources

An excellent spring is available at the alun-alun camping area near the summit.

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